Madison Reading Project: Celebrates two years working with Dolly Parton to bring free books to local kids

For Immediate Release                       

January 26, 2024

More Information:

Rowan Childs, (608) 347-7970


Madison Reading Project Celebrates Two Years Working with Dolly Parton to Bring Free Books to Local Kids

MADISON – Madison Reading Project and The Dolly Parton Imagination Library celebrate two successful years of partnering to bring free books to more than 11,250 young Dane County children. 

Last year, Madison Reading Project helped connect thousands of Dane County families to the international Imagination Library book-by-mail program. That’s over 113,650 Imagination Library books received by local children. Any child residing within the boundaries of Dane County can be mailed a free brand-new book every month until their fifth birthday.

“We’re proud to serve as the local affiliate for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library since 2022, helping to get free, high-quality, age-appropriate books to the youngest children in our community,” says Rowan Childs, Madison Reading Project founder/executive director. “It’s our mission to connect our community with free books and literacy resources to ignite a love for reading.”

“Our goal is to reach all of the nearly 7,000 newborn babies in the county with the Imagination Library program and increase awareness with our Baby’s First Pages early literacy program,” says Sarah Burke, Early Literacy Coordinator. “In 2023, we targeted the Imagination Library outreach to newborns at UnityPoint-Meriter and SSM Health St. Mary’s hospitals. 

“We also launched an early literacy Facebook page to help connect local Imagination Library enrollees with content related to child development, tips for reading books with children, information on forthcoming books, and insights from staff literacy experts.”

Funding for Imagination Library is made possible by a grant from the Roots & Wings Foundation, with the mission of helping children grow strong from the roots up.

“Roots & Wings’ continued financial support allows us to grow our outreach to more children,” Childs adds. “As Dolly famously says, ‘When you can read, you can do anything you dream.’ We can’t agree more.”           

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Imagination Library is one of several Madison Reading Project literacy programs. Chartered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 2014, Madison Reading Project has given more than 500,000 books to children in the greater Dane County area.

Roots & Wings is a family foundation established in 2019 by Judy and Gordon Faulkner. Roots & Wings makes grants across healthcare, early childhood, basic needs, and human rights. The Foundation supports nonprofit organizations that help low-income children and families reach their full potential through prevention, early intervention, and in-depth programming that changes lives.